There’s no doubt buying a used car can save you lots of money compared to opting for a brand new one. Most cars lose a huge chunk of their value after the first few years. At this point, they typically have a little over 25,000 kilometers on them – which isn’t a lot considering that some models can do over 60,000 kilometers with little to no problem.

However, buying used cars requires more than just finding the right fit. You need to make sure the seller is not trying to offload a faulty vehicle. So, here are some tips for finding a good used car in Canada, even if you are a first-time buyer.

Do your homework

The first thing that any aspiring car owner should do before signing that dotted line is, of course, doing some research. Know the most reliable brands and also find the model that works for you.

Small cars, for example, need less fuel compared to SUVs, and they are also easier to park. But, a hatchback might not cut it for a construction worker who needs to move bulky things around.

At the end of the research phase, you should have at least one car model in mind, it’s current market price, the average cost of maintenance, and its estimated depreciation rate.

Private seller vs. dealership

Buying a car from a garage seller might be cheaper, but you should also keep in mind that it comes with risks. Private sellers usually push vehicles as is and that, sometimes, means expensive repairs down the line. So, unless you have experience in troubleshooting cars, you might want to keep off private sellers.

Dealerships, on the other hand, sell at slightly higher prices compared to private sellers due to overhead costs. But they do offer a guarantee and also handle the paperwork for you. Plus, they wouldn’t risk selling a bad car that could land them in trouble with the authorities. That makes dealerships the safest option for novice car buyers.

Condition of the vehicle

After finding a potential car, there are a couple of things you should check to avoid unnecessary costs after purchasing it. For example, are the tires roadworthy? Does the car have wide panel gaps? Does every electronic still work?

If the panel gaps are not consistent, that car has probably been in an accident, and you should walk away. Other smaller things like scratches and minor dents, should not be a problem, but you can leverage them for a discount.

Petrol vs. electric cars

Electric cars have hit the market sharply in the past couple of years, and they seem to get better with time. Tesla, for example, has already made significant strides in range, safety, and cost-effectiveness – things that rival petrol cars. However, these EVs come with hefty price tags, even as used vehicles.